Meanwhile, in New Zealand:
“Good luck with that, assholes”
To me this bit of news is…conflicting. As an ardent Tolkien fan I suppose I should be excited that yet another adaptation will be made for my viewing pleasure. It would be one thing if they’d gotten the rights to The Silmarillion (I’d still be drunk on celebratory champagne), but to produce the TV series when the movies are only 15 years old?
The official press release is pretty scant on the details of what this TV adaption will actually look like:
Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring
Thanks Amazon, that explains so much. Sigh. I have some initial thoughts on the subject, and I would LOVE to hear other people’s reactions.
Why I’m Nervous
A) It’s reported that Amazon paid upwards of $250 million for the rights to the series, and they have NOTHING to show for it. No award winning director. No big name producers. There is not a single person attached to the project, let alone a script. They came to the table with nothing more than “exceptional ideas”. You’d think that after the TRAVESTY that was The Hobbit films, the Tolkien Estate would be a little more careful about handing over licensing rights. Amazon could literally turn it into a modern rock opera starring Justin Bieber. Then again, I suppose for $250 million the Tolkien Estate would still be laughing their way to that offshore bank in the Caymans.
B) That incredibly vague press release. “New story lines” can mean just about anything. Are they going to be creating their own original stories set in Middle Earth? Did Amazon just spend hundreds of millions to essentially produce LOTR fanfic? And if so, where do I submit my ideas?
C) I’m starting to lose faith in book adaptations. There is a vast difference between “adapting for ” and “incorrectly believing you can improve on the source material”. There are some exceptions to that (and his name is Willoughby), but I’m naturally cynical and hard to please. It’s my curse.
D) Quite honestly, the story of the ring is tired. Between The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, there are 6 movies and 21 hours devoted to telling that story. We’ve seen the ring’s discovery; we’ve seen its destruction. Let it be done. If speculation is right, the show would cover the time period between the two series. There’s very little original source material for those six or so decades. A few paragraphs on the meeting and romance of Aragorn and Arwen does not a TV show make, no matter how adorable they are.
Never mind. I’d totally watch that. Source
Moreover, any material from that period would almost undoubtedly need to revisit places and characters already imagined and fleshed out by Peter Jackson and Co. It would invite too many comparisons.
Why I’m (Tentatively) Hopeful
1) Peter Jackson is not attached to the project. It doesn’t even sound like he’s been consulted. While I lived and breathed The Lord of the Rings movies, The Hobbit still makes me seethe with righteous indignation. Fresh eyes, a new perspective, and a director with nothing to prove could be huge positives for this project. At the same time, Amazon would be remiss (and by remiss I mean “really effing stupid”) if they did not at least sit down and have lunch with Alan Lee and John Howe, the conceptual artists for the previous films as well as most of the official illustrations for Tolkien’s books. Their involvement would ensure some continuity in the appearance and architecture of Middle Earth.
2) There’s a lot of opportunity for some hotties to descend on Middle Earth. I’m ready to crush hard on some dirty, scruffy, hotter-than-the-fiery-chasms-of-Mount-Doom Dúnedain rangers. 15 years later and I still carry a pretty big torch for this unwashed stud.
Also here for dreamy elves, and dwarves played by Richard Armitage. Source
How does this news make you feel? Are you excited and already working on your fantasy cast? Do you want to punch Jeff Bezos in the face? Let’s discuss!